Something is wrong. We all know it. We all feel it, yet we don’t know how to address it. We square off with society and return with more questions than answers, more doubt than direction, and more frustration than fulfillment. Or even worse, which only proves my point, we don’t even care. We have become a culture that is focused on ourselves. We could be rightly called the “iCulture”. This kind of nation has aborted eternal absolutes, only to replace them with adopted liberations, which have grown into a juvenile rebellion that has declared war against all that is selfless and right. This is a posterity that is designed to self-destruct. Any culture that frees the individual to idolize itself is destined for failure. Freedom is designed for the betterment of the whole, which in turn blesses the individual. Self-focus is cannibalistic, leaving the bones of a society to the vultures of oppression. Sadly, the church is no different and yet in a strange way, the church holds the answer to all that is selfish. She has just done a lousy job of showing it.
The human race is ravenous, and it’s starving for an antidote to its own condition. The situation before us is often so appalling that it often leaves us with the desire to crawl into a hole and wait it all out. Of course we won’t do that because then we would be left to live with ourselves, and generally that thought is even more sickening than the culture we are trying to escape.
As the saying goes, “Hope springs eternal.” In everyone I have ever met who acknowledges the issues at hand, all of them hold something special in their heart. They believe that things can change, they just don’t know how. The Church has failed to capitalize upon man’s condition. Much like a charity doctor fails to capitalize upon helping someone who finally acknowledges their sickness. The Church has been too worried about her financial and social appetite. Because her priorities are out of line, she holds the guilt of not being here for the reason she exists, which is to be Jesus to the people of “iCulture”..
I look at the world I live in and still see hints and glimpses of God, yet I wonder if we will ever reach the place that God intended for us to be. The real Church, not the hypocritical abusive one, has a hard time calling its brothers and sisters back to the beauty of Jesus, mostly due to the fact that the culture is sick of any voice that claims to represent Jesus. This largely has to do with the selfishness that has infected both the church and the world. People are sick of others who are out for their own personal gain, even though they themselves are seeking the same prize. Hypocrisy is blind.
I am only comfortable and happy when everything is about me, if I realize its not then I’m offended. God exists for me, the family exists for me, the culture exists for me, my job exists for me, and my friends exist for me. Anyone who is not here for me, I happily label as my enemy. With the pen of selfishness I draw a line in the sand that sorts out who is for me and who is against me. Its funny that we claim to be tolerant yet most of our friends are just like us. Why was Jesus, who was a holy Jewish Rabbi, so comfortable around a heathen Samaritan, a blue-collar fisherman, a guilt ridden prostitute, or a corrupt tax collector? The answer is simple, He was not here for Himself. He did not come to bless our “iCulture”. He came to change it. Who we often refuse, Jesus loves. The Church has focused far to long upon her own imperfections instead of the cultures need for a cure.
Laws do not change a man. Most often times they only incite him to rebellion. They show him where to cross the line. Jesus knew that the only way to change selfishness into selflessness, was to topple the human heart, not to make more laws. We are not naturally born to think in terms outside of ourselves. Racism is taught, selfishness is not. We were born defending our toys and today our “toys” are our philosophies that protect our own way of living. That is why Jesus is seen as a threat to the “iCulture”. Both the Church and the world have re-created God to fit the life they have decided to live, regardless if it is making them miserable or not. Everyone has a golden-calf, an idea of God that is nowhere near who God really is. I have had many of them. Consequently, when people say that they are sick of God, they are not talking about the real God of heaven, more than likely they have never truly witnessed Him being rightfully represented. It is impossible to be sick of being loved. Who God really is was shown upon the cross of Christ. He revealed Himself as a sacrificial lover who came to save His Bride from her own undoing.
I have devoted my life to ministry. I have had to fight the head winds of the false church my whole life. I have tried desperately to reveal Jesus in a way that people have never seen before. Many times I have succeeded and many more times I have failed. But the reason that I even try is because I used to be a citizen of “iCulture”. In fact, I still see hints of its influence upon my life. Jesus was the only Person that could make sense of my jumbled heart. Philanthropy only took me as far as the suffering and no farther. Philanthropy stops just shy of the cross, just as most Christians do. I believe that we can catch the attention of the “iCulture” when we choose to suffer for them in a way that most will not. Yet, this kind of suffering can not be taught, it must already be present in our hearts due to an incredible experience with God at the cross.
We must stop trying to be accepted and understood by this culture and start shocking them with our willingness to go the second mile, our willingness to stand by them and suffer with them, especially when we don’t have to. Christians say that they love the people in the world but Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, to lay his life down for his friends.” Maybe we have failed in this because our faith is more about us than we care to admit? Maybe we have been so worried about our polished morality, that we failed to see our friend suffering next to us? Maybe we are a member of the “iChurch”? Maybe my wounds, regardless of where the originated, will be healed when I seek to heal someone else’s? Maybe my life will make sense when I make it about someone else’s? Maybe I will finally receive joy when I seek to make someone else happy?
Jesus chose to call us friends while we were still at war with Him, if I say that I want to be like Jesus then I must not wait for someone to agree with me before I will call them a friend. There is one thing true about selfish people, they want to be loved and needed. They want fulfillment, they want a sense purpose and a sense of belonging. When I allow my life to be Jesus with skin on, I find it easy to meet these needs.
It matters not whether the culture accepts us or rejects us, we have made a choice to live for a world that is not yet present. They may think us foolish to do so, but let them think these things while watching us serve and suffer with them instead of fighting with them over pointless theological issues. The only way an “iCulture” breaks down, is when the culture itself fails its citizens, and then true Church is there to pick up the pieces and heal broken hearts. But the Church needs to heal itself first. She needs to reach out and weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Either way it is a gesture that is unfamiliar with the letter “I”, and more familiar with being Jesus to someone else. The moments where I am most like Jesus are the moments where life is not about me. Luke 22:27 “For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” ~Jesus of Nazareth
I have decided to reject introverted Christian ideals that magnify my vices and virtues. When I make the choice to actually believe what I say I believe, I begin to understand the blessings hidden within my professions. To generically believe the Bible is one thing, to experience it in action through your own hands and feet are another. Concerning “iCulture” it is better to give than receive.